Catastrophic wildfires are growing in severity and frequency in the United States, and with wildfire season now upon us, addressing this problem has never been more urgent.

Each year, the federal government attempts to fund ever-increasing fire suppression costs through the regular appropriations process, but enough dollars are typically never available to cover those costs. When the money runs out, the Forest Service is forced to borrow from other, non-fire accounts to pay for fire suppression. A considerable portion of this money often comes from wildfire prevention accounts, damaging our ability to take a proactive approach to reducing the risk of wildfires.

The strongly bipartisan Wildfire Disaster Funding Act would permit the Forest Service to utilize federal disaster dollars to pay for catastrophic fire costs, thereby ending the practice of fire borrowing and freeing up hundreds of millions of dollars each year for their congressionally intended purposes.

On Wednesday, conservation and sportsmen leaders will discuss the impacts of fire borrowing on the U.S. Forest Service budget, forest health and conservation funding broadly. The speakers also will brief participants on the content and significance of the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act.

WHO: Whit Fosburgh, President and CEO, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership

Robert Bonnie, Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Rita Hite, Executive Vice President, American Forest Foundation

WHEN: Wednesday, Aug. 20, at 2 p.m. ET

CALL-IN: Call 1-800-311-9403 and enter access code “89706”

This call is for credentialed members of the press and invited guests. Please RSVP to Katie McKalip at kmckalip@trcp.org or 406-240-9262.

Logo courtesy Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership

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